When my youngest was born a year and a half ago, I was taking every precaution I could think of to avoid him having ANY of the problems my older son has experienced. This includes a birth defect, need for prescription drugs and antibiotics, asthma and allergies and the list goes on. I had a c-section so of course it was a hospital birth. I received antibiotics intravenously because I was strep b positive, but I assume also as a precaution due to the operation. Further, the baby received a Vitamin K shot at birth because my pediatrician who was largely focused on natural medicine recommended that we did. We refused the Hep B shot without any problems. I was thankful our hospital encouraged the baby to room in with us. I was not thankful, however, for the 82 degree temperature in our room! Our little guy experienced facial swelling so bad he did not open his eyes for three days, and he also had two different types of rashes during that time. Eventually I let the nurse take him to the nursery for an hour or two while they did their normal newborn testing and he came back de-poofed and his eyes open. I was already in pain and sweating which didn’t leave much room for me to approach rage status. The nurses informed us they could not control the temperature because the rooms were on a block and the average temperature of the included rooms was what they read in the engineers room. AND they wouldn’t move us to one of the several empty rooms. Thanks.
So, back to eczema.
After that debacle, my son has always had a spot of eczema on his face and then random parts of his body which stick around for a while and then fade, showing up in another location for a period of time. At first I thought it was a rash. He was born in December so we always bundled him up to keep him warm. Around March, my husband finally noticed that when he is hot the eczema gets worse. This has been the number one trigger that we have observed! Beyond that, I was exclusively breastfeeding, so after we understood that he had eczema and not just a rash, I underwent several eliminations from my diet but could never find the one thing that was causing his eczema. We also tried a bajillion products, some of which helped better than others, but none caused a miraculous healing from his eczema. We have only seen our pediatrician and an allergy doctor regarding this, however neither could tell us what causes eczema. Our pediatrician stated many children have it, that it is related to the weather. Her suggestion was to coat him in Aquaphor as soon as he is out of the bath. She said the skin dries out after two minutes and to try to get him moisturized before that. The allergy doctor told us it could be food allergy related, and to try CeraVe. According to her, CeraVe contains an ingredients that adds a protein to the skin which people with eczema do not have. My problem with both of these suggestions… TOXIC ingredients! I always try to avoid harmful ingredients and these suggestions were not what I was hoping for.
WHAT WE DID
I have tried several different things to cure my son from eczema. Here is a recap:
- Neosporin – Oh my god please DO NOT ever put this on eczema! I put this on my poor son’s cheek when he was almost four months old. I didn’t know it was eczema at that point and it was right before his christening. My thinking was it would help his cheek heal up. I swear it burned his skin, oh my painful idiocy! So this is definitely a NO GO.
- Calendula Cream – This caused my son to break out in a rash, but not an eczema one. I tested it on the inside of my forearm and it was fine, but I think his baby skin was just too sensitive and maybe he has an allergy. So this did not work for us.
- Aveeno Naturals Eczema Therapy Cream – This did not work at all. The active ingredient is Colloidal oatmeal but it also contains petrolatum, which is a petrochemical which contains toxic cancer causing compounds. The worst thing about Petrolatum, to me, is that it is banned from use in Europe due to the fact it is a known carcinogen. This went in the trash.
- Aquaphor – Let me first say that this product contains petrolatum, which I am not comfortable with. I hate to say it, but this really worked. The consistency is so thick and moisture-resistant that it clears up any scaly patches pretty quick. I tried to avoid using Aquaphor for a very long time but eventually gave in.
- Florasone Cream – I loved this cream in place of a hydrocortisone cream. It is a homeopathic treatment without any harmful ingredients. Any time his eczema was weeping (oozing clear liquid), I would use this and it would dry it up. It would still be a red scaly patch, however it would stop my son from scratching and making it bleed. Definitely worth a try in my opinion!
- Coconut Oil – I love using coconut oil to moisturize my son’s skin when he is not having problems with scaly eczema. It is too greasy to work well on the scaly areas and therefore just does not work. Coconut oil is actually comedogenic which means it can clog pores. This is because it has low levels of lineloic acid and therefore it sits on top of the skin, rather than soaking in and nourishing the skin. Additionally, according to Ayurvedic medicine, coconut oil is a hot or warming food. My son’s condition was worsened by heat and therefore I felt he needed something cooling to soothe it.
- CeraVe – Most recently I have tried CeraVe on my son’s cheek. Again, I am uncomfortable with the ingredients but per my son’s Allergy Doctor we gave it a try. This product contains petrolatum as well as dimethicone, which are two known carcinogens and ingredients I would like to avoid. CeraVe is nothing special, and I think Aquaphor does a better job.
- Aveeno Hydrocortisone Cream – I did not want to try this at all. I have read numerous times that using steroid creams only suppresses the underlying problem and it will either resurface somewhere else or in another form, such as asthma. I used the cream on my son’s face for about a two-week period. Not only did the spot not totally fade, his body exploded with problem areas like I had never seen before. I will never use this again.
Please note that this is only my experience in what has worked for my son. I am not a doctor or medical professional and this is not intended to be used as medical advice. Every person is different. Diet, climate, genes and other factors play a role in eczema treatment, which is probably why doctors are not exactly sure what to do with eczema. The products I support and recommend above are natural, with the exception of Aquaphor.
Have you had experience in battling eczema? Do you have a natural replacement for the ultra-moisturizing Aquaphor? Please share in the comments below!
Part 2 discussing diet and eczema is coming next!